Homemade Salsa: Always a Crowd Pleaser
Fall is the time for tailgating, football, and bon fires. All of which require quick and easy foods that everyone can snack on during the whole event. It is also important that these foods go well with beer. Let’s face it; the majority of people attending these parties are going to be drinking beer. You don’t want to bring or serve a dish that will clash with the strong flavors of beer. Salsa always goes good with beer. The fresh acidic taste of the tomatoes and onion cut through the bitterness of the beer and the coolness of the beer tames some of the heat from the peppers.
Almost everyone likes chips and salsa. It is always a safe go to dish to have at a gathering. Of course, you can just buy a jar of pre-made salsa at the store, but you and I both know that most of those taste like feet. You don’t know what’s exactly in it either. It will also cost you a bit more than making it fresh and homemade yourself. Moreover, when everyone comments on how good your salsa is you can be like, “Thanks. I made it myself.” If you buy jars of salsa to serve to your friends, no one is going to be like, “Wow! You did a darn good job opening those jars.”
Salsa is super super easy and you can make it days ahead. In fact, sometimes salsa is even better when it has had time to sit allowing all the flavors to really marry together. You can take it a step further too by making your own homemade chips to serve with the salsa, but if you are not entertaining at home, I would just get a couple of bags of chips because they transport so much better than homemade chips. Homemade corn chips are a little more fragile.
To make homemade chips, just get some pre-made corn tortillas (soft taco shells - make sure they are corn – not flour) and cut them into quarters (triangles). Gently drop them in hot oil (350º) for 2 – 3 minutes (or a light golden brown). Be careful not to leave them too long. They will burn fast. (NOTE: They will darken a little more outside of the oil.) Remove chips, drain on a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet. Quickly sprinkle lightly with a little salt before they dry.
We eat a lot of salsa at our house, just as a snack with lunch, or a late night snack watching TV. I usually use fresh tomatoes in the summer when they are in season. In the fall and summer months though, I totally cheat and buy canned tomatoes. I generally stay away from canned fruits and vegetables about 99% of the time, but there are a few times when canned will work just fine. Tomatoes are one of those few exceptions, depending on the recipe of course. Like, I would NEVER recommend canned tomatoes for a brushcetta. That would be absolutely disgusting. However, things like sauces and salsas you can get away with using the canned stuff. It will be okay. I promise.
Homemade salsa is so easy to make. It literally takes only a few minutes. You pretty much throw everything in the food processor (if you don’t have one of these, get one! They are great to have. You don’t need a super fancy expensive one either. They will save you a lot of time in the kitchen). I recommend pre-chopping items before putting them in the food processor. This will help the food processor get all of the bits into a uniform cut without pulverizing some of the smaller ingredients. The beauty of salsa is you can adjust it to what you like. If you don’t think the crowd likes super hot, remove the ribs and the seeds from the peppers before putting them in the food processor. That is where most of the heat is. WORD OF WARNING WHEN WORKING WITH HOT PEPPERS: If you don’t wear gloves when working with the peppers, make sure you wash your hands well immediately after. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE!! Capsaicin is the active component in chili peppers that gives them their heat. If you get it on your hands, it will stay there for a while, even after you wash them. If you touch your eyes, you will not be a happy camper. Trust me, that stuff hurts like ……well……you know.
The other nice thing about salsa is you can make is as chunky of smooth as you like. Me, personally, I like a nice smooth salsa with very small chunks. However, I know others like their salsa super super chunky. If you are one of those people, then just give the food processor a few quick pulses until everything is chopped to the consistency you like and all the pieces are uniform in cut. If you are like me and like your salsa nice and smooth, give it a few more quick pulses until it is the level of smoothness you desire.
Whatever the event or whether you are going out or having people over; salsa is always a quick and easy dish you can serve to a crowd of people who will be socializing and nibbling for hours. Salsa can be left out for a long period without going bad and is easy to transport. It is customizable to the tastes of your guests and is something almost everyone enjoys snacking on while drinking beer and cheering on their favorite team.
Super Easy Salsa
- I can (28 oz) diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 2 chili peppers
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
- 2 green onions
- 1 medium lime
- 1 T (minced) or 2 garlic cloves
- 1 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- ½ t cumin
- 1 T Calvino’s Extra Virgin Organic Robusto Olive Oil
- 1 T Chili Infuse B-sphere balsamic
- Cut peppers and onions in medium chunks
- Roughly chop cilantro into large pieces
- Empty tomatoes into food processor, add onion and pepper chunks, as well as the cilantro
- Add zest from the lime (1 T)
- Squeeze in lime juice
- Add olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, and cumin
- Lightly pulse 4 to 5 times until all ingredients are chopped and mixed together
- Empty contents into a bowl , stir gently
- Serve or refrigerate